Belfast Telegraph

Police to probe 40 locations in hunt for Arlene Arkinson's body

By Deborah McAleese

New searches for the body of missing Tyrone schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson, who was abducted and presumed murdered 17 years ago, are to begin at the end of the month, police have told her family.

Officers have pinpointed 40 different locations where they believe her remains could potentially be buried.

Arlene was just 15 when she vanished near her home in Castlederg after attending a disco in Bundoran, Co Donegal, with friends.

Convicted child killer and rapist Robert Howard is believed to have abducted Arlene and murdered her, even though he was acquitted in 2005 after details of his criminal record - a 40-year history of past convictions for rape, murder and child abuse - were withheld from the jury.

He is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of 14- year-old Hannah Williams from south London, whose body was found in cement works in Kent in March 2002.

The new searches, which have been six months in the planning, are to be launched on August 31 and are scheduled to be carried out over an extensive period of time.

It is understood a decision was taken to relaunch searches following a review of the evidence and previous search areas.

Story so far

Tyrone schoolgirl Arlene Arkinson (right) went missing 17 years ago. Police believe she was abducted and murdered by child killer and rapist Robert Howard, even though he was acquitted by a jury in 2005. Her body has never been recovered but police have told her family they are to carry out new searches at 40 different locations.

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